PHIL 375 Study Guide - Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre

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20 Nov 2012
Existentialism 375A
Essay Topics 2012
Please write one 1500-2000 word essay worth 35% due on November 26 if students want
essays back by December 5. Students must keep rough drafts of their paper and hand
them in along with their paper. All students must be prepared to discuss their paper with
the instructor. Please use a duotang to keep all the papers together neatly. The instructors
reserve the right to deduct 1% a day for late papers unless the student can document
relevant illness or extenuating circumstances. Essays must be typed. Make sure you keep
a copy of your paper.
Your papers will be graded on your ability to understand the material you have been
assigned to read, your understanding of the class lectures and conferences, and your
ability to draw on the class lectures and assigned readings in a thoughtful, clear and
coherent manner. The lectures and conferences are intended to give you access to the
texts themselves and the essay is a test of what you are able to achieve on your own, given
that access. Your paper will be graded on the depth, clarity, and eloquence of your
account. You are not giving a mere summary of the thinker in question but offering a
thoughtful interpretation based on textual evidence and your own ideas. Use your own
words to explicate the text. (To explicate means to describe the text in your own words to
further your own understanding and to explain the text and your interpretation as clearly
as you can to your reader.)
You are encouraged to consult additional primary literature and to quote sparingly
from the primary literature. It is possible to write an excellent paper on the basis of the
required readings alone, however, it is highly recommended that you do some additional
The paper will be graded on the quality of the interpretation. An excellent interpretation
is one that explains the quote, reading or topic in question in the paper writer’s own
words and offers some interesting insight that is not obvious on the basis of the reading
alone. An excellent interpretation is a justified interpretation: the writer explains and
justifies his or her claims. A merely correct or plausible interpretation of the paper topic
does not necessarily make an excellent paper, the interpretation must be thoughtful,
intelligent, creative and justified.
An excellent paper is one that is well written (spelling and grammar).The reasoning is
clear and persuasive.
An excellent paper is one that demonstrates that the student has been able to use the
lectures to engage with the text in an autonomous and thoughtful way. The student is not
merely restating the lectures or the text itself.
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